(Simon) Chi Chan
Abandonment is a common fear for both children and adults. Many people have deep fears of being abandoned due to past trauma from broken relationships and divorce in their families. The fear of abandonment can feel crippling. Yet with God’s help, we can face this fear and conquer it. A Christian counselor can also help you conquer your abandonment fears.
How the Fear of Abandonment Develops
Abandonment fears develop when an important person exits your life in a sudden, unexpected way. You may have abandonment fears after someone you love dies. Fear of abandonment is also common for children of divorce, no matter which age you were when your parents divorced. If you experienced a painful breakup in a dating relationship, you may also have abandonment fears due to that pain.
As with any type of trauma, abandonment can lead to other problems if it isn’t handled well. Children can show signs like anxiety, clinginess, crying spells, angry outbursts, withdrawal, and/or self-harm. Stomach aches, headaches, and other body pains may be psychosomatic symptoms due to abandonment fears. With professional counseling, children can experience relief from these symptoms and heal.
These symptoms can show up in adults as well. If you have unresolved issues from childhood, or you have experienced a difficult breakup, you may be dealing with some of these symptoms.
Due to the fear of abandonment, adults may be too trusting and clingy in close relationships in an attempt to feel secure. Other adults may be withdrawn, angry, and combative to keep others at a distance so they don’t experience the same pain again. Unfortunately, either style of relating to others can cause a vicious cycle of hurt, frustration, and loneliness. This can leave you feeling stuck and discouraged.
Each person experiences the effects of abandonment in unique ways. A compassionate Christian counselor can help you understand the complex ways abandonment has affected you, then help you begin the healing process. Here is a look at the type of help you may receive in counseling.
Putting Your Fears Behind You
God wants to help you put your fear of abandonment behind you. He can calm your fears, walk beside you as you grieve, and help you trust him more in the future. These are some steps you can take to find healing.
Lean into Your Fears with Help
Most people don’t have the strength to face their fears on their own. However, many of us understand that we can’t overcome our fears unless or until we face them. If you’ve tried to face your fears before without success, there is still hope and help for you.
By facing your fears with God’s help and the help of a Christian counselor, you can overcome them. A caring counselor at Seattle Christian Counseling will assist you in unpacking and examining your fears so they no longer have a hold on you.
Study God’s Word
Our fears of abandonment can make a negative impact on our relationship with God. Many of us project our fears and distrust onto God after someone abandons us. However, by studying God’s Word, you can learn the truth about who God is. He has promised to never abandon you. When you meditate on and memorize key scriptures, you can speak truth back to your fears. Here are several promises of God to consider:
God will go ahead of you and not fail you. He will help you be strong and courageous. – Deut. 31:6
When you go through dark valleys, God is with you, protecting and comforting you while keeping you from harm. – Psalm 23:4
No matter who has abandoned you, God will hold you close and keep you safe. – Psalm 27:10
God will never leave you or forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5b
You do not have to fear, because God is perfect in his love. – 1 John 4:18
Look up these verses in your Bible. Think about them deeply and write them out in a notebook. Refer to them every time you are triggered by an abandonment fear. Use them to speak the truth about your situation. These verses can help you trust God more.
Pray About Your Hurts
Prayer is simply a conversation between you and God, just like you would have with a friend. It’s perfectly safe to vent all your fears and frustrations to him in prayer. The more you pray about your abandonment fears, the more God will help you deal with them.
You may want to write your prayers in a prayer journal to track your healing process. By faithfully praying over your hurts and tracking them in a journal, you will begin to see God at work, removing your abandonment fears. Many people heal faster from abandonment hurts when they journal their thoughts and pray about them.
Forgive and Let Go
It’s difficult to forgive those who abandoned you. However, you might be blocked from healing until you forgive. Forgiveness is an act of faith that you do for yourself as much as for the other person. It may not be possible or wise for you to speak with the person who abandoned you. Yet you can forgive on your end to feel whole again. A counselor can walk through that process with you.
Letting go of the past will help you heal. Your counselor can help you grieve your losses through a series of healing choices. The steps of grief include denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance. Once you work through the grieving process and forgive those who hurt you, you’ll be able to put your fears to rest.
Move on a Healthy Path
Though you may have been abandoned by someone in your past, your future doesn’t have to be the same. You can learn ways to trust others and choose healthy relationships without the fear of abandonment holding you back. When you are healed from your fears, you can begin connecting with others in healthier ways.
It’s important for people recovering from abandonment fears to take baby steps in trusting other people. A caring Christian counselor can help you identify your negative coping mechanisms and replace them with confidence in God. When you place your confidence and trust in God instead of yourself, you will be freed from your past fears and be able to move forward.
How a Christian Counselor Can Help
We all have blind spots that can be difficult to see on our own. Abandonment fears are complex, and you may need help from a caring Christian counselor to put them to rest. You’ll gain self-awareness in your sessions with your counselor so you can start facing your fears with greater success.
A Christian counselor is uniquely qualified to not only offer professional care but spiritual support. Your counselor is trained to recognize fear triggers and help you deal with them. He or she will also pray for you and offer Bible-based care to strengthen your faith during the healing process.
Talk therapy is often all one person needs to overcome abandonment fears. Most families are ill-equipped to speak about the situations that led to the abandonment. It is common for families to bury the truth and never speak of it, or falsely blame and tear each other down over the abandonment.
Your sessions with a Christian counselor will provide a safe, secure place to share your thoughts and receive wisdom based on what the Bible teaches. You’ll receive healing through the powerful truth of God’s Words and the support of your counselor.
The Christian counselors at Seattle Christian Counseling have helped many people overcome their abandonment fears. We have walked alongside people in different situations that caused those fears and have been honored to assist them in their healing. Your story can turn out the same way with our help. Contact us today to set up an initial appointment.
“Trapped”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Holding Hands”, Courtesy of Octavio Fossatti, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Stay Away”, Courtesy of M.T. ElGassier, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sun on the Water”, Courtesy of David Cantelli, Unsplash.com, CC0 License